Gripping film noir crime drama about a manhunt for a ruthless killer who plays a deadly cat and mouse game with the police. Starring Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Whit Bissell, and Jack Webb, this movie was the basis for "Dragnet". Watch for Whit Bissell, the unsung but solid bit player who has appeared in hundreds of films and TV shows
February 16, 2012 Subject:
Walk by night
An elongated dagnet episode
April 24, 2011 Subject:
Only the name are changed to protect the innocent
One can see a subtle influence of this film on the TV show Dragnet. The narrative was reminiscent of Jack Web's introduction on Dragnet, save for Web’s lack of inflection.
I have to agree with carlo subterfuge as to Web’s likeability rating. He did get himself promoted in the TV series and played the tough guy. His lab tech persona in the movie makes him look almost effeminate in comparison.
Nice to see Byron Foulger in this play also.
April 7, 2011 Subject:
It was spectacular!
Very entertaining movie for such short running time.
January 5, 2011 Subject:
Terrific Cop Movie
This is a terrific cop/crime movie with a strong script, firm direction, and top drawer acting by Richard Basehart as the bad guy; Scott Brady (who played "The Dancing Cowboy" in "Johnny Guitar); Whit Bisell (in his usual wimp role); and, Jack Webb as a police technician. This launched Webb's career (Dragnet)since the technician idea gave him the idea for Dragnet. But Basehart is at the center of the story and he deserves kudos for his performance as the brilliant but quiet killer type. When he "pistol whips" Bisell with a wad of money, he's tough and mean. The story is based on a real event in L.A. Basehart, like the great Orson Welles in the Third Man, gets chased through the city's sewer system at the ending. Great acting, photography and story.
April 2, 2010 Subject:
He lived and died as a criminal
The success of this film is due to Richard Basehart, a young and intense actor, well up to the task of portraying a compulsive killer and all around criminal. Yet he had a dog that seemed to love him and was loved by him. The chase and gun battle in the water run-off tunnels of Los Angeles was right out of Carol Reed's 'The Third Man'. Overall I enjoyed this movie and recommend it as a perfect example of film crime noir at its best. The dog should have been up for a performance award. Police investigation methods have advanced but this was 1948 and there were chemists and science being used to great effect. However, there was the silly scene with a policeman firing a machine gun at some not clearly seen in the dark. No Miranda rights and no verbal pleas for the suspect to give himself up before someone started firing.
August 23, 2009 Subject:
Webb was likely an insomniac
an oddly over-amiable jack webb does the forensics while we've got a very disgruntled ex-GI on the loose who really digs selling other people's electronic inventions....oh and aiming his rifle scope out the window at the kids paying hopscotch. did i mention he's a delivery man for a San Francisco dry cleaner which puts him in ccontact with some really hot but haughty burley-que dames that are just asking for it?
Highly recommended for its hilariously civic performance of ad hoc police artist wizardry down at the station; nice tense action chase scenes, and further evidence of Jack Webb's inability to project 'likeability' under any filmed circumstance ever.
August 15, 2009 Subject:
Brutal violence, just the way you like it
Five minutes into this, I picked my jaw up off the floor just long enough to declare "This movie is AWESOME!" The rest of the film did not (quite) live up to the scene that forced that kudo out of me, but it is, all in all, a very solid flick.
The scene that did it for me is the first real act of violence. A cop pulls his car up to the curb and asks pedestrian Richard Basehart for some ID (Basehart had just been trying to break into a closed shop). Basehart claims he forgot his wallet, then asks if his Army discharge will do. He pulls out a revolver and blasts the cop two or three times. Then he jogs across the street, gets into a parked car, and tries to start it.
The very wounded cop then rams his car into the driver's side door of Basehart's. Hard.
It may not sound super-special, but the way it is shot and edited pulls no punches. When the cop moves to try to get his car going, you're amazed that he's even alive. And when Basehart escapes his car, you swear he should be missing a leg from the impact he just survived.
The violence throughout the movie is brutal, quick, and not at all glamorized or downplayed. There's even a self-surgery scene that will induce squirms in anyone with any empathy at all.
Even apart from the violence, this is a solidly entertaining thriller.
August 13, 2009 Subject:
cops in gasmasks!
pretty good movie. the sewer tunnel scenes remind me of "the third man." when those cops put on their gasmasks look out badguy! wonder what happened to the little doggie?
June 19, 2009 Subject:
One of his first. A great and under-rated American actor. Spent time in Italy and featured in a couple Fellini films. Also Ishmael in Moby Dick. Great speaking voice.
January 1, 2009 Subject:
He Walks By Night
What a difference in Jack Webb's character in this movie compared to the one he is seen as in dragnet. Still I really enjoyed this movie.
March 12, 2008 Subject:
I agree with all of the positive reviews here. This film is way ahead of its time. Top notch story elements make it a real gem to watch. It's a brooding simmering story that comes to a boil perfectly. Great climax and great focus on the criminal (eg. the long scene when his dog realizes the cops are outside). Superb stuff.
March 10, 2008 Subject:
The direction, story, pace WAY ahead of it's time. I can see how Dragnet followed this feature with ease.
August 15, 2007 Subject:
The cunning of the protagonist is chilling, and frightening. The sewers were an ingenous idea, as was his little "alarm dog."
And it features the reedy voiced Whit Bissell, who got beaten up in old movies almost as much as Elisha cook Jr.
July 26, 2007 Subject:
Great film noir movie...
For those who have never heard about the backstory behind this movie, it goes a little something like this:
On April 25th, 1946, Erwin Walker shot and injured Detective Lieutenant Colin C. Forbes and one other officer, when Forbes made an attempt to arrest Walker, after unloading around $40,000 worth of stolen motion picture equipment to a sound engineer named Willard Starr. Fast forward to June 5th; California Highway Patrolman Loren C. Roosevelt was gunned down by Walker. Walker was finally arrested on December 20, 1946, after a gun battle with detectives. He was shot twice. While treated at the hospital, they found some old bullet wounds, which he admitted were from the April battle, and he treated these wounds himself.
In June of 1947, Walker claimed insanity as the reason for what all had happened.
Of course, what happened after the movie came out in 1948 proved more dramatic than the movie itself. While the movie wasn't 100% accurate, it did get most of the facts in there, and at the same time, "the names have been changed to protect the innocent." If you're a fan of the film noir genre, or a fan of "Dragnet", you'll enjoy this movie. I give this movie a 4/5 rating.
June 7, 2007 Subject:
Fan of Dragnet
Dragnet was great for TV, probably not for a movie.
This is okay.
May 11, 2007 Subject:
Dragnet meets The Third Man
The beginning of the movie trips all over itself to show us how truly amazing the LAPD is. Then the movie really begins. A killer is on the loose in LA. The police have extra incentive to capture him since one of thier own is a victim. Through some lab work and artist renderings, they have thier man. After a long chase scene in the sewers of LA, he is apprehended and shot down. I got the feeling from watching this that maybe the director of The Third Man maybe caught this movie and gleened the good stuff from the sewer scenes. Picture Harry Lime (Orson Welles)
running through the storm sewer system of Paris. He Walked By Night was filmed and released prior to The Third Man. Just a thought. Overall not a bad film.